The deal marks the latest in a long line of ed-tech acquisitions for Pearson as it continues its focus on digital learning.

Pearson PLC, publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin books and a major player in the ed-tech market, has agreed to buy the educational technology company Schoolnet for $230 million in cash.

London-based Pearson on April 26 said it expects the acquisition to be broadly neutral to earnings per share in 2011 and to enhance its earnings per share and return on invested capital in 2012.

New York-based Schoolnet, which aligns assessment, curriculum, and other services to help personalize instruction and improve teacher effectiveness, reportedly serves more than 5 million U.S. students from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Schoolnet’s data-based solutions will complement Pearson’s products and services that help boost student achievement through diagnostic tools and tailored instruction, Pearson said. These products include Waterford, SuccessMaker, and NovaNET.

Schoolnet customers, in turn, will benefit from Pearson content and technology such as PowerSchool for student information, AIMSweb for intervention, America’s Choice for school improvement services, eCollege and Fronter for online learning platforms, TutorVista for online targeted tutoring, Data Solutions and National Transcript Center (NTC) for interoperability and state longitudinal data systems, and the Family Education Network for parent and teacher education.

Schoolnet’s solutions are used by more than a third of the nation’s largest urban school districts, the company says, including Chicago Public Schools and the School District of Philadelphia.

Pearson Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino said, “Being able to offer a connective digital spine for learning has been Pearson’s goal for years. … Together we can make that spine more flexible and powerful for schools, teachers, and students.”